Deceased July 2, 2021

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In Memory

Bob died July 2 in Mérida, Mexico, after contracting COVID-19. He was born in St. Louis in 1934. At Amherst, he majored in political science and fine arts. He married Suzanne “Zannie” Hoyt (Mount Holyoke ’56) in June 1955, and they lived in an off-campus apartment senior year. Bob and Zannie frequented Eddie Condon’s jazz club in NYC, and jazz gradually became a cornerstone of Bob’s life. Not enamored of his family’s shoe business, they moved to Santa Fe, N.M., in 1960 and became ranchers. Never forgetting their love of music, they underwrote the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival in 1972. In the 1980s, Bob produced the Santa Fe Jazz Festival, which morphed into the New Mexico Jazz Festival, still going strong today. Bob and Zannie divorced in the early ’80s, and Bob married his beloved B.J. in 1986.

Many knew him as “Bumble Bee Bob,” a moniker he acquired when he bought a large Arizona cattle ranch that included a ghost town called Bumble Bee. The name fit his personality perfectly.

After retiring from ranching and land development, he turned his energy to his other true love besides jazz: cooking. At the age of 70, Bob and B.J. opened a restaurant in Santa Fe called Bumble Bee’s Baja Grill and soon had four locations. Turning 80, they built a home in Mérida, a Mexican expat cultural and gastronomical oasis, where they lived for seven fantastic years.

Besides B.J., Bob is survived by six children, 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He was extremely proud that his daughter Linda ’81 and granddaughter Seewai Hui ’16 carried on his Amherst legacy.

“He rode the biggest horse, wore the biggest hat, had a huge heart and always sported a big smile. He was a man who checked off his bucket list.”

Linda Weil ’81